BREAKING NEWS: UN Security Council endorses Iran nuclear deal

UN Security Council endorses Iran nuclear deal
UN Security Council endorses Iran nuclear deal

The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously endorsed the Iran nuclear deal, over the objections of U.S. lawmakers who wanted the panel to wait until Congress formally reviews the landmark agreement. 

The vote Monday is the first formal step at the international body toward implementing the deal and rolling back U.N. sanctions. 

The White House says the Security Council’s actions won’t take effect for another 90 days, but congressional lawmakers nevertheless had urged President Obama to halt Monday’s vote — and allow Congress to vote first. 

“I don’t know why they’re going to the United Nations [first],” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told “Fox News Sunday.”
Cardin was joined by several top-ranking lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in urging a pause at the U.N. 

Congress has 60 days to review the deal — and then vote for or against it, or take no action. 

“I think they should have gone to the United Nations after the 60-day review,” Cardin said. “They don’t gain anything by doing it earlier.” 

But the Obama administration argued that they were still showing deference to Congress, and that the U.N. shouldn’t be hamstrung during that review period. 

“They have a right to [vote on the deal], honestly. It’s presumptuous of some people to suspect that France, Russia, China, Germany, Britain ought to do what the Congress tells them to do,” Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC’s “This Week.” “They have a right to have a vote.  But we prevailed on them to delay the implementation of that vote out of respect for our Congress so we wouldn’t be jamming them.” 

The vote Monday authorizes a series of measures leading to the end of U.N. sanctions that have hurt Iran’s economy. But the measure also provides a mechanism for U.N. sanctions to “snap back” in place if Iran fails to meet its obligations. 

The resolution had been agreed to by the five veto-wielding council members, who along with Germany negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran. It was co-sponsored by all 15 members of the Security Council. 

The document specifies that seven resolutions related to U.N. sanctions will be terminated when Iran has completed a series of major steps to curb its nuclear program and the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that “all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.” 

All provisions of the U.N. resolution will terminate in 10 years, including the snap back provision. 

But last week the six major powers — the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — and the European Union sent a letter, seen by The Associated Press, informing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that they have agreed to extend the snap back mechanism for an additional five years. They asked Ban to send the letter to the Security Council. 

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said the nuclear deal doesn’t change the United States’ “profound concern about human rights violations committed by the Iranian government or about the instability Iran fuels beyond its nuclear program, from its support for terrorist proxies to repeated threats against Israel to its other destabilizing activities in the region.” 

She urged Iran to release three “unjustly imprisoned” Americans and to determine the whereabouts of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who vanished in 2007. 

“But denying Iran a nuclear weapon is important not in spite of these other destabilizing actions but rather because of them,” Power said. 

Under the nuclear agreement, Iran’s nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions. Many key penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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